Quaraun Novel Update: Starting in 2014, in preparation for the 40th Anniversary of The Twighlight Manor Series (September 23, 1978/2018), all 2,000+ short stories are being compiled into chronological order, to be re-released as a series of 130 novels. All the original short stories are being republished both here on EelKat.com and on Amazon. In the novels, each short story now stands as a "chapter" in the novels. New scenes/stories are being writing to connect the short stories together into novel format.

Attracting Readers/Customers
to Your Business

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"I am a chimney sweep. When looking for someone to do work at your home, how do you usually find the company? What are some things you look for when hiring someone to do work at your house. How would you suggest for me to get my name out there to attract more costumers? When calling and making an appointment what would be the most important thing you looked for? What do you think the best form of advertising is for a chimney business? "

Intriguing question as I am an author and advise others who are looking to become authors, yet you are a chimney sweep. I'm not sure my advice would be helpful to you or not, but you asked so I'll answer. I can see the logic in it. Marketing a book and attracting readers to want to buy your books is very much like attracting customers to buy services and products from a business; so yeah, perhaps I can give you advice on how I go about attracting readers and it'll help both you in attracting customers to your business and help my targeted author-type audience in attracting readers to their books at the same time. So I'll answer each of your questions, however I'm going to focus most of my answer on how I go about attracting readers (customers).

Let me break this up first and answer each of your questions in turn:

"When looking for someone to do work at your home, how do you usually find the company?"

There are 300+ people in my family, nearly all run a business of some sort (one who does chimney sweeping, even!) so we rarely need to look for outside services, usually looking to family first. When we do however look for outside help, it tends to be people who are friends of family, church members especially, or people recommended by family. So word of mouth is the way we find people at least when looking for service based businesses.

"What are some things you look for when hiring someone to do work at your house?"

Reputation. I like to know someone who hired them, that way I can go to my friend's house and say "Can you show me want they did? I want to see their work up close."

Your reputation in knowing what you are doing, doing it right, not leaving a mess, acting professional, these are all things I will be looking for. If your guys are smoking in my yard, poking around my fridge looking for snacks, messing up my bathroom, tracking mud all over the place, and knocking over lamps as they blunder through, I'll avoid your business. And that is why I want to talk to a friend I know and trust and ask them what sort of job your people did at their place.

"How would you suggest for me to get my name out there to attract more costumers?"

The #1 best way to attract customers no matter what your business is, is business cards.

Business cards.

Plain and simple. Never leave home without them. Hand them out everywhere you go. Use a public toilet? Stick a business card on the paper roll holder. Waiting rooms (if you are there, don't just run in a leave them at places you don't wait at.) Leave business cards everywhere. NEVER put business cards on people's cars!

I leave them on all the local community bulletin boards. Most libraries have boards, town halls have them, train stations and bus stations, even some grocery stores have them. I always keep a little box with 100 business cards in my purse, and a package of push pin tacs.

I leave 5 to 10 cards on every board I find, than I go back every month or so to replace them. I also leave my cards on tables in waiting rooms at doctors offices and hospitals (though I don't go out of my way for this, I just leave them at the offices where I am at - family health issues means I'm weekly at several offices, also being an author I leave "waiting room sample copies" of my books in the waiting rooms as well - though this probably not helpful for your chimney business, but I thought I'd mention it in case it sparked an idea for you.).

Okay business cards out of the way, let's talk about my personal #1 best way of attracting readers, letting them know I'm a local author, and convincing them that they want to buy my books

This option not for every one, because you really got to love cars, love working on cars, love being in big crowds, and love being the center of attention for this to work, but if that's you than your car is your biggest source of free advertising. Put a sign on your car, paint your car, tape flyers to the back door windows of your car, glue beads to your car, metal-flake your car, or have your car wrapped.

Combination of car and cards: I get 90% of my business from people stopping to ask if they can take pictures of my car (2.5million beads on it) and than asking, "Do you have a business card?"

For years, I did not have business cards. Why?

I'm a writer, people don't buy books based on business card, do they, why would I need business cards?

I customize my personal cars, I don't do it for other people, it's not a business, it's just a hobby, why would I need business cards?

It wasn't until I built the Dazzling Razzberry that I had business cards made up. I had business cards made after, practically every spectator at a car show asking for my card. It was my first car show, and before than, I had no idea that it was just standard practice for car owners to have business cards with a picture of them and their car on it. Spectators at car shows collect car cards, and get them autographed by the owners (if the car is famous).

So I made business cards which read:

EelKat Wendy C Allen

Autistic Author, Artist, Dollmaker, and Art Car Designer

On one side was a picture of The Razzberry on the other side a picture of me.

I started handing out so many cards at car shows that I ended up gluing a business card holder to my passenger-side mirror and just leaving cards on my car. I hand out 50 to 200 cards a month (or a day some times) this way. And now no matter where I go, whenever I park my car I drop a handful of cards in the holder before I head to the store, class, wherever.

Usually I'll come out of WalMart or where-ever and find 10 to 30 people standing round my car waiting for me to come out of the store so they could meet the owner. All of them waving a card and asking "I took a card is that okay?"

I'm a car collector, ton of cars, attend car shows and my Razzberry even gets to be in Monster Truck rallies and hang out with Team BigFoot.

I never expected this sort of reaction, or the boost in my book sales that would come as a direct result of handing out business cards at car shows. My car has been my best marketing move ever attracting readers left and right. I never expected it, because it was just me being me and gluing things to my car (I glue glitter to every thing.) I was not doing it to attract attention or for marketing or for attracting readers or anything. I was just doing it because I love gluing glitter to stuff.

Never underestimate the power of a show car, an antique car, an art car covered in marbles, a rare car that only had 5,000 made, or a metal-flake lime green 1975 Dodge motorhome to attract a crowd and get people asking for business cards.

My best attraction getter was having a car that can get in monster truck rallies and handing out business cards at those events. It doesn't matter what your business is - car shows and truck rallies bring in crowds and if your car is part of the event everyone wants your card no matter what your business is, just so they can say "I meet the owner of that car, I was there, see, they gave me their card!"

They will NEVER throw that card away and they will call you when they need you with "Hey, do you remember me? We meet at the monster truck rally, you gave me your card, well I need..."

Spending the day with Team BigFoot was the best business move I ever made, and it wasn't a marketing move either, it was more of me being me, I'm a huge BigFoot fan and when I heard Team BigFoot was going to be doing a special show down the street from my dad's place in Biddeford, I drove over there to ask for an autograph, the guy who was organizing the event took one look at my car and said "Hey, that's a great car you got there, pull up beside BigFoot." I ended up in the event as a special unannounced guest.

 If you've got an antique car - use it as your daily driver and watch your business soar.

It's absolutely astounding the difference in my business from before I started using my show cars as my daily drivers (3 years ago) to today.

I've been in business since 1983 - business didn't start booming til I started using my show cars as my daily drivers.

Every body loves a "rare" car. Best thing you can do for advertising your business - get a car that attracts attention and advertise your business right on the side of the car.

I'm an author (not sure if you realized that) btw, my books are "local themed" set in local towns, so while the mass market might read a few of my stories, most of my readership are folks from the towns in the settings who want to read stories set in their town, thus why my main focus of marketing is my car and business cards, rather than on FaceBook or Twitter.

Being "local" means the need to attract local attention, and my cars (I've several strange cars) and my business cards are used in such a way that I am right out there in the public, so they are meeting me face to face, talking to me one on one, and that kind of interaction does wonders because people are more likely to buy from you if they've shaken your hand, than if you are just another page on FaceBook.

"When calling and making an appointment what would be the most important thing you looked for?"

Friendly voice, non-authoritative attitude (not bitchy/bossy/I'm better than you) and actually knows what s/he's talking about so they can answer my questions without getting back to me later (not, I'm sorry I only answer the phones you'll have to make an appointment to talk to someone else).

"What do you think the best form of advertising is for a chimney business?"

For me, I'd most likely call you if I saw your number on the side of your truck, and it was a truck I saw around the neighborhood a lot. I'm more inclined to think "We need a chimney cleaned, Hey, I remember that truck. He's always parked over at Hannaford every morning. I'll drive by and see if he's there today, jot down his number." I'm a car nut and I know all the local cars and trucks and where they usually park, so I always know who is going to be where and when I need someone, I'll head out, find their car, jot down their number, and call them, just on the familiarity of seeing their car around town every day. I'm very much a person who "buys local" and looks for local services.

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